After a rocky first season, The Leftovers sophomore run earned heaps of critical acclaim and the sort of obsessive fan base that rivals The Guilty Remnant in feverish devotion. Our own Adam Chitwood called it “one of the all-time great TV seasons”. Damon Lindelof’s series will draw to a close this year with the third and final arc. The eight-episode season will debut April 16th on HBO.
In addition to the eternally tortured leading man, eternally tortured supporting players Carrie Coon, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler, Margaret Qualley, Kevin Carroll, Amy Brenneman, Chris Zylka, and Janel Moloney are also returning. Season 2’s major addition, the Murphy family — Regina King, Kevin Carroll, Jovan Adepo and Jasmin Savoy-Brown — will also turn up for the apocalypse. Scott Glenn, who play’s Kevin Garvey’s father, is also back and has been bumped up to series regular.
Season 3 was filmed on location in Texas and Australia, where Kevin goes to see his father. Presumably, since this is The Leftovers, in search of answers that will never come. None of that is in this first teaser though, which is 100% on-brand for the series — a series of oblique close-up reaction shots of people looking up with grumpy, downtrodden, and afraid expressions leading to the reveal that they’re looking at writing in the sky. “THE END IS NEAR.” Welcome back, The Leftovers. Lighthearted as ever.
That music cue sums up why I struggle with The Leftovers — it’s too smug about making its audience suffer. I’d say setting the end of the world to “Don’t Worry Baby” is cheeky, but The Leftovers doesn’t routinely indulge in humor so it just reads as self-satisfied. That said, The Leftovers has a gusto and commitment to challenging ideas that’s worthy of respect, even if I found it too intentionally obscure to be satisfying. And you’d do well not to expect any revelations (beyond the existential) as the story draws to a close.
Lindelof told EW that the final season “is about the end-of-the-world emotionally,” and explained the challenges of show’s vague approach to mythology.
“It’s one thing to say, ‘I’m giving you this box with a present inside and you’re never going to open it’ — who’s going to accept that gift? We’re constantly trying to modulate and fulfill the promises we’ve made. And it’s not enough to say that all we care about is the characters and not the mythology. But I do think with The Leftovers the word ‘mythology’ doesn’t necessarily apply the way it does to Lost or Westworld or Stranger Things or True Detective. Those shows have clearly defined mythologies. We don’t want to frustrate the audience but The Leftovers plays by its own set of rules and will continue to do so.”
You do you, The Leftovers.